Vince Carter always made what's impossible feel possible

Vince Carter will enter the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player who inspired imagination and helped everyone believe in what was impossible, even as he struggled to make results on the court.
Vince Carter did not have the season everyone hoped in his short time with the Orlando Magic. But he still inspired a sense of awe every time he stepped on the floor all the way to the Hall of Fame.
Vince Carter did not have the season everyone hoped in his short time with the Orlando Magic. But he still inspired a sense of awe every time he stepped on the floor all the way to the Hall of Fame. / Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic were making quick work of the Memphis Grizzlies on April 4, 2010, just a few weeks before the end of the season. The Magic had already established themselves as the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and, as the defending conference champions, everyone knew their success would be determined by the Playoffs.

None of that mattered though. The runway was clear. And there was only one man on the team who could fly. Everyone was there to see a man fly and do what feels impossible look so effortless.

But Vince Carter was reluctant throughout his lone full season with the Magic. He wanted to fit in with a championship group in his best chance at winning a title in his career. There was less of the Vin-sanity and more of the good teammate.

But the ball trickled out in front of him with nobody around that April evening. The crowd at Amway Arena leaned forward collectively with anticipation. Carter had no choice. He understood that.

He casually gave the fans what they wanted, pulling off a 360 with ease, reaching deep into his bag one more time to delight the crowd.

Carter had a few of those moments in his short time with the Magic. His 48-point game against the New Orleans Hornets was one of the major highlights and a true turn-back-the-clock moment for him.

The Magic reached the Eastern Conference Finals, getting Carter to the precipice of the team success his career was lacking. But a pair of missed free throws in Game 1 changed him and deflated the rocket ship that was the Magic's 2010 season.

It was likely the dividing line between Carter's time as a true star in the NBA, even if he had stopped making the All-Star team every year by that point. Carter would become the elder statesman in the league from that point, carving out a role off the bench and as a mentor to young teams throughout the league.

The lasting memory though was always his acrobatics. Whether that came in a quick 360 in a Orlando Magic uniform or his high-wire acts in the Toronto Raptors' purple and black. Carter always made everyone believe that humans can fly.

Even though he never won a championship and the 2010 Magic represented the closest he ever got to a title, Carter left a legacy that is essential to the story of basketball.

At long last, the Mainland High School alum, Daytona Beach native and former Orlando Magic forward is going to be enshrined in Springfield. Carter will fly forever as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Carter's year and a half with the Magic will likely be a footnote in his ultimate enshrinement ceremony. They will undoubtedly show highlights from his time with the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets.

They will likely talk about his short stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Sacramento Kings as part of how he gave back to the game. His time and highlights with the Magic are not likely going to be front and center.

It was not the best moment in his Hall of Fame career.

Carter appeared in 97 games across two seasons with the Magic, averaging 16.3 points per game. He averaged 15.5 points per game during the Magic's 2010 Playoff run.

The unfortunate narrative in his time with the Magic is that he failed to step up in the biggest moment. Orlando broke up its beloved 2009 Finals team after opting not to re-sign Hedo Turkoglu and pushed their chips on a major trade for Vince Carter. He was meant to be the perimeter scoring option the Magic lacked in their Finals loss.

Carter though struggled when the chips were down in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. He averaged 13.7 points per game and shot 36.7 percent from the floor and 21.1 percent from three. Carter did not rise to the occasion in this critical moment.

That is Carter's unfortunate legacy with Orlando. It is one of disappointment -- he shuffled to the Phoenix Suns to try to salvage a lagging season in 2011 as the Magic's championship window began to close.

Magic fans though always have a soft spot for him. He is a Daytona Beach-native and still a presence in Orlando. Anytime any Magic fan sees him, the nostalgia comes sweeping through. It is hard not to be a fan of Carter.

Everyone has a soft spot for him. Even without the team success, Carter is a cult hero who redefined what was possible as a dunker and made his games must-see TV for his athletic feats. He was the winner of the most iconic Slam Dunk Contest since the Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins show in 1988.

That is why Carter is part of the NBA culture and NBA story. It is why his induction into the Hall of Fame is going to be celebrated by all.

Carter is someone who got everyone excited. He was someone who you could not help but watch. The opportunity to see something amazing was too great.

That is what defined Carter. And he gave a glimpse of that in his short time with the Magic. He got everyone eagerly anticipating every movement and every moment.

Carter truly made you believe a man could fly. Even at his age and experience when he was with the Magic.

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What Carter did was make the impossible seem possible. And that is always what his legacy will be.